Monday, August 31, 2015

Eggsecutive Orders by Julie Hyzy : Cruisin' thru the Cozies

I am linking this review to Cruisin Thru the Cozies Reading Challenge 2015 hosted by Yvonne at Socrate's Book Reviews.  I signed up for Level 2 - Investigator. That is reading 7-11 cozies, this is #5.

Eggsecutive Orders (A White House Chef Mystery #3)Eggsecutive Orders by Julie Hyzy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Olivia Paras, newly appointed executive chef at the White House, is in the thick of it again. It's spring and she is looking forward to her mom and grandmother visit. She's planning the annual White House Egg Roll, they will hard boil 15,000 eggs. The day her mom and nana are expected to arrive she is startled by a call from 202 on her caller id. The White House!  Now what?

What follows is in true Ollie Paras and Julie Hyzy fashion. There is a death at the White House. Was it murder or not!.  How did the dinner guest die?  Did the White House kitchen have a hand in it?

This one was fun, in that there where a couple of other lovable characters introduced. Ollie mom, Corrine and her grandmother were fun to get to know. There was a tiny bit of Stephanie Plum's Grandma Mazur, but Nana is not quite as crude. She's spunky but lovable.  

I am looking forward to the rest of this cozy mystery series.

View all my reviews

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Random Saturday Snapshots 8-29-15

Saturday Snapshots is hosted by Melinda at West Metro Mommy Reads. The only rules are that the pictures are taken by you or a family member or friend and that the content be appropriate for all eyes to see. 

Today are just random pictures of nature and one of my brother. 

 This is a picture taken by my sister in South Dakota, during her morning walk. She walks most mornings in a nearby nature preserve. Isn't this serene?

This picture was taken by my sister in law, who lives in northern Montana near Great Falls.  The setting sun is so red due to all the forest fire smoke. We are experiencing the smoke even here in NE Wyoming.  I thought it was interesting that both photos have foliage in the foreground.

This is a picture of my brother living a life long dream of participating in the Little League World Series. He is behind home plate in this game. The photos of him directly were not taken by a family member or friend by the press, so I cannot share them. If you are interested in a better picture, go to ND/SD Little League District 1 face book page and there is a great photo of him as their cover photo this week. It has been fun watching the games and looking for him.  Those Little Leaguers play great ball. The final games in each division are today, and the Championship game is tomorrow between the US winner and the International winner.

That's all for my random Saturday Snapshots.
Have a great week

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Review: All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

All The Light We Cannot See    
Anthony Doerr

Audio narrated by Zach Appelman

This may be my favorite book of 2015.  Anthony Doerr writes with such beauty.  

Marie-Laure lives in Paris with only her father. At six she becomes completely blind. Her father, the locksmith of the Museum of Natural History in Paris, painstakingly builds her a model of Paris.  It is so detailed in its design that Marie-Laure can touch each piece and learn her way around the city.  She spends her days with her father at the museum and she knows her way around the entire building. She counts the steps, she smells the trees, the bakery, the air, and she listens to the birds, the bees, the steps on the streets.

Werner Pfennig is an orphan in Germany. He and his sister Jutta live at Children’s House. In their ventures around their city they come across a broken radio.  Werner fixes the radio and quickly gains the reputation of a repairman in the neighborhood.  As he spends more time, it becomes clear that Werner is a very bright boy. And the Nazis take notice. He is chosen to attend the school of the Hitler Youth.

As this story moves from one time period to the next and then back again, you start to see that the stories of Marie-Laure and Werner are bound to converge.  This audio version was so enthralling to listen to.  It was beautifully narrated by Zach Appleman.  I loved hearing the German and French words pronounced correctly. I know I would not have done so in my head if I had read the print version.  The author writes such beautiful prose, almost like looking at a painting.  That being said, so much of this story was very hard to listen to.  It is an upsetting story. There were times I had to shut off the player and walk away. The devastation and the sacrifices that the French and the German people made in 1941 – 1944 are overwhelming. Every time I read stories set in Europe during WWII I wonder, if I had been there, would I have survived?  Would I have been able to endure?

And yet, people did endure.  They did survive, to continue with their lives.  Forever changed by those awful years, they were able to go on, raise families and be prosperous members of their communities.

Until next time
Stay Busy and Stay Happy

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Wondrous Words Wednesday 8-19-15

Join us at Kathy's blog, BermundaOnion's Weblog on Wednesdays to share words encountered while reading or words you would just like to highlight. Just write a post and link up at BermudaOnion's Weblog. It's that simple, then check out other's links to learn something new today.

My words today came from The Summer Hideaway by Susan Wiggs.

vassal    noun    : a person in the past who received protection and land from a lord in return for loyalty and service

They came to Camp Kioga like vassals summoned by a monarch, with George ensconced in a big armchair in the resort lobby to greet everyone.

bialy   noun

:  a flat breakfast roll that has a depressed center and is usually covered with onion flakes

George waited his turn, then ordered indulgently - a cappuccino, a kolache and an iced maple bar. He also ordered a box of bialys and a strawberry pie to go. 

I had to go looking for a picture of a bialy. The article said they are similar to a bagel in texture and originated in Poland.  You might also wonder about kolache. So here is a picture of them
My grandmother was from Czechoslovakia, so I am familiar with kolache. They were originally a sweet wedding dessert. My grandmother made awesome kolaches filled with apricots or prunes

What wondrous words did you find this week?

Until next time
Stay Busy and Stay Happy

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday All The Light We Cannot See - 8-18-15

Every Tuesday I try to join fellow bloggers at Diane's blog, Bibliophile by the Sea, to share the first paragraph or two of the current book I am reading on First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros. This week I am starting again on The Ticket by Karen Schutte. I shared the first paragraph of this 1st in a trilogy here.

I am also listening to All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.

Because this is an audio book I am using the Look Inside feature at Amazon to share the first paragraph.

17 August 1944

At dusk they pour from the sky. They blow across the ramparts, turn cartwheels over rooftops, flutter into the ravines between houses.Entire streets swirl with them, flashing white against the cobbles. Urgent message to the inhabitants of this town, they say. Depart immediately for open country. 

I am enjoying this listen. Though parts of it are sad and hard to listen to, most is beautifully written. The story of a sixteen year old blind girl living in Paris with her father. It is very descriptive so you can see her world as Marie-Laure sees it. Not only with your eyes, but with your ears, your nose and your fingers. So would you read more?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Wondrous Words Wednesday 8-12-15

I am joining Kathy at Wondrous Words Wednesday. It is a place to share words you found while reading or words you just want to share.

My words today come from Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay.

ameliorate - verb - to make something, such as a problem, better, less painful

"The police were so intent on deporting the maximum number of Jews that they decided to ameliorate the orders, so they arrested all those little children, the ones born in France, French children?"

arrondissement - noun-   : an administrative district of some large French cities.
                                          : the largest division of a French department

" It wasn't fantastically paid, but it was enough for me to stay on, living in the eighteenth arrondissement, sharing a place with two French gay men, Herve and Christophe, who became long-lasting friends."

I could sort of figure out the meaning of these two words due to the use in the sentences, but I looked them up so I could pronounce them correctly. I was OK on ameliorate, but had the accent all wrong on arrondissement.

So what new words did you find recently?

Monday, August 10, 2015

Currently Reading and Listening To: Sarah's Key and All The Light We Cannot See

Last week at the library I picked up a bound copy of Sarah's Key
 and the audio version of All The Light We Cannot See.

 I have had both on my TBR list for some time and though I wasn't really searching for those title in particularly, they both were available. Mr Busy and I were planning a 3 hr road trip last Saturday and we usually check out an audio book to listen to. Usually we chose a title he is interested in, David Baldacci, Dan Brown, C.J. Box and that is OK. He did not have a certain book he wanted to listen to , so I got to chose.

As it turned out we had a friend of his ride with us, so no audio. I know now, he would not have enjoyed listening while driving to this title.  Anyway, I am listening to it, in my sewing room while putting the binding on a table runner.

I also am reading Sarah's Key. I am really enjoying that one too. I find it interesting that both books take place in Paris and other cities in France at about the same time period, 1936-1942. Of course Sarah's Key also has the present time component. I did not realize the similarity. Both are moving, sometimes sad stories.

Today I am linking up with
at An Accidental Blog  . Every Monday Paulita hosts this place to post anything Dreaming of France. I don't cook at lot, have not visited France, don't have a chance to eat much authentic French cuisine, but once in a while I do read books set in France. So today I will join in the fun.  

Until next time,
Stay Busy and  Stay Happy

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - Self-Help (I hope)

There is a place to share the first paragraph or two in the first chapter of a book you are reading or thinking of reading soon. Write a post and link it up with Diane at Bibliophile By the Sea.

The Hoarder in You: How to Live a Happier, Healthier, Uncluttered Life
Dr. Robin Zasio
Published by Rodale Books, 2011

Not long ago, I was sitting at my vanity getting ready for my day. It was very early on a Monday morning, which is always my busiest day of the week. On this particular day I was not going into the office, but heading directly to my client Kate's house. This was to be the first time that she allowed me inside. We'd worked together off and on for months in my clinic, The Anxiety Treatment Center of Sacramento, but until now she'd been very resistance to letting me see exactly the state of her environment. She was on my mind as I applies make-up and fixed my hair.

I chose to feature the Introduction of this book rather than the first paragraph of the first chapter. The first several chapter are mostly citing case studies and though interesting are not particularly attention grabbing. Maybe the intro isn't either, but my sister has been urging me to read this book for the last year or two.

This is the year I have decided to "downsize", "declutter" or just plain "get rid of stuff" so I thought I would see if the library had it. It was checked out. Then along came the Fall Quarterly Back to School Challenge at Love of Reading over at Goodreads. The categories follow school subjects and there it was, pick a book from a genre you haven't read or at least not for a long time. So "self-help" it is. I checked the library and it was available.  Karma?!

So have you ever thought of reading a book like this? Do you have to scurry through the house throwing stuff in a basket, to hide in the closet, when someone shows up to visit unannounced? My house isn't like that anymore, but after 51 years of marriage there is definitely closets that need to be cleared of clothes that I will never wear and kitchen drawers that need to be rid of the clutter of utensils I will never use. And as of this day, we will not talk about my "stash" of fabric in my sewing room, although I am giving away a myriad of magazines!

Until next time
Stay Busy and Stay Happy

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Hail to the Chef (White House Chef Mystery #2) Cruisin Thru the Cozies.

I'm linking this review to Cruisin Thru the Cozies Reading Challenge hosted by Yvonne at Socrates' Book Reviews.

Hail to the Chef (A White House Chef Mystery, #2)Hail to the Chef by Julie Hyzy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Second in the White House Chef Mysteries, finds newly appointed Executive Chef Olivia "Ollie" Paras about to embark on her first White House Holiday Season as the one in charge. Dinner parties are planned, receptions are on the books, small intimate family gatherings are also on the agenda. Everything must be perfect.

Her small staff works well together, even if there is a bit of snarkiness from Bucky, her senior chef. She will enlist the help of some temporary chefs and a few additional members of the household staff. Everything seems to be going as planned until Ollie suddenly finds herself ushered off to the bunker with the First Lady and her nephew, Sean, by two black clad Secret Service agents.

Further intrigues ensues as Ollie becomes privy to some internal happenings involving the First Lady and her nephew. After the all clear Ollie returns to the kitchen to continue to prepare for Thursday's small Thanksgiving dinner. As the preparations continue, chief electrician is killed in an accidental electrocution. Ollie finds herself involved in the why such an accident could happen to a skilled journeyman electrician. Then the First Lady's nephew is found dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

All the drama continues as the Secret Service and Special Agents in Charge cover the White House looking for clues to the deaths. Ollie tries to continue under stressful circumstances, but with the help of a few friends and acquaintances, she still is suspicious of some strange happenings in the kitchen and the White House dining rooms.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Saturday Snapshots At the County Fair

Saturday Snapshots is hosted by Melinda at West Metro Mommy Reads. The rules are few, check them out at Melinda's blog.

Thursday evening we went to the County Fair. I always like to look at the exhibits of quilts, and photography, and paintings. We had our granddaughter, her husband and her son with us. Daddy decided JR would like to ride the ponies.  He did not agree. The man running the pony ride was very kind. After about 4 times around, he stopped the ponies and let Daddy take JR off.  Maybe another year! :)

They also feed the goats in the petting pen, but those goats were very persistent.  They had a baby pot bellied pig, a calf and a young alpaca. Momma did most of the feeding. JR just watched.

He really enjoyed chasing the bubbles from the bubble tower, but I did not get a picture of that!  Bad Great Gramma!

We did enjoy our time together, and that is the most important thing.

Does your family attend the County Fair in your area?